Some time in the 1990s, an Indian friend who used to visit Ukraine frequently (for reasons of the heart) told us about software like Office, Windows and AutoCAD being openly sold in Kiev and elsewhere for 25 cents.
Today, we were reminded of that conversation when we read a piece in CNET that Adobe Photoshop CS4 is available at a 99.99% discount in Vietnam.
Yes, Photoshop CS4 is sold for $1 in Vietnam as against the list price of $698 (On Amazon, it’s $588.99).
Obviously, the 25-cent Windows in Ukraine and the $1 Photoshop in Vietnam are pirated stuff.
We left India before the PC and Internet era came into full bloom.
But anecdotal evidence from India suggests thatÂ our homeland is no different when it comes to piracy.
With rampant piracy plaguing Bollywood movies, it’d be a surprise only if computer software were not pirated on an equallyÂ massive scale in India.
We don’t know much about Ukraine or Vietnam but when it comes to Indians it’s not just about the high price alone.
The DNA is as important when it comes to massive piracy.Â
You see, the Indian DNA is for the most part hardwired to steal and cheat.
There’s a certain pride in not only stealing but also bragging to friends and family how you’ve done it and then actively abetting the act in others.
We see that often in the U.S.
Indian acquantances here routinely steal Wi-Fi from neighbors’ unsecured high-speed connections, filch satellite broadcast of Indian channels using some complicated mechanism (involves a box from Canada and some codes from the Internet), pirate music CDs and DVDs, illegally download movies from some obscure web sites…. The ‘illegal’ list of our desis is endless.
The interesting thing here is that the Indian penchant for theft of intellectual property cuts across hierarchy, educationÂ and class – rich or poor, the behavior is similar.
We do not for a moment believe that if the computer software or entertainment software (i.e. movies and music DVDs/CDs) are priced lower in India compared to the West, piracy will come down.
No, it won’t because theft is in the Indian DNA.
Fair is foul, and foul is fair:
Hover through the fog and filthy air.
Was that ugly scream by the three witches in Macbeth about our grasping countrymen.